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Re: The Cretaceous Middle-East



>>Ah, a good dollop of speculation is just what I need to get my day going!<<

I don't know of any late Cretaceous dinosaurs from the Middle East (although 
there
were some nice whales found there), but dinosaurs from Asia may certainly have
been present.  Africa is going to present a problem because I don't think Africa
and Asia ever connected in the the Cretaceous.  Land bridges are possible, but I
wouldn't bet on it.

Evolution is going to really have to be considered, though.  Velociraptor is not
going to remain Velociraptor for 60 million years.  Any dinosaurs found in
present-day Yemen might be as different from the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous as 
we
are from lemurs.  In any isolated environment (and this one would have to be
REALLY isolated), dwarfism would be pretty prevalent.  A small ecosystem simply
can't support an elephant-sized (or bigger) herbivore and it certainly can't
support an elephant-sized carnivore, so sorry, no tyrannosaurs, except for 
little
ones.  Past that, however, evolution is random enough so that pretty much 
anything
you can think of is as probable as anything else.  The way mammals evolved after
the extinction (little, generalist animals diversifying into many niches) is a
pretty good guideline.  I can imagine a population of maniraptors isolated 
before
the extinction and branching out to fill all niches in 65 million years.  There
could be fat, herbivorous maniraptors (cough, therizinosaurs), fruit-eating
maniraptors, grass-eating maniraptors (seeds are pretty mobile, so you can 
expect
some modern plants to exist in this ecosystem), insect-eating maniraptors, and 
of
course, predatory maniraptors.  Heck, there might even be some arboreal
maniraptors.  No ancient flyers, though, since they could easily have escaped 
the
valley or whatever.

That's all I can think of.  It sounds like a cool idea for a movie and I'd
certainly pay to see it.  Oh yes, one last thing: Give Them Feathers.

Dan